A new Brighton based alt-folk band are making waves online with their new EP Where The Grey Slates Meet and after hearing it, I have to say that I totally agree with reviews such as “gorgeous harmonies and beautifully crafted songs” and “fantastic technique and real feeling”. Stark are a young band who are made up of three incredibly talented musicians and I think their individual strengths are what make them an very exciting band indeed.
The debut EP begins with a song called Circle Roads, which is a spaced-out, chilled folk track led by a melodic vocal from frontman Jamie Francis. Bassist Josh Franklin and drummer Evan Carson pitch in on the harmonies, making the opening track a real interesting tune with a unique rhythm. The 1950s American twang in the guitar is a nod to Jamie’s admitted blues influences and although they have been categorized as “alt-folk”, they’re actually verging on indie too meaning they’ve got a pretty varied sound.
Anger is a slower track with the ever-present Americana attached. That indie vocal comes through again and the chorus on the middle track is fierce. It is a little poppier than the other two tracks on the record and as a result, I think this would be their most commercially successful release. Merging pop and folk is something that many quirky hipsters who write music try to do and Stark are great at making it seem so effortless.
Closing on their big anthem Sailor Song was a great choice, as it leaves us with such an upbeat lasting impression. It has a cheerful riff which could very easily be described as “travelling music”, as you can imagine yourself driving down an open country road on a sunny day to it. The American vibe is back and with a very catchy rhythm, it’s an awesome live track with so much packed into it for fans to lose themselves in.
Stark are an intriguing development within the alt-folk world and I think if they keep their signature Brighton-meets-rural-American sound, then they’re in for a very bright future. This is the kind of indie that doesn’t need to be about long lost lovers or writing songs to earn money -it’s just pure and simple with a lot of sunshine coming from it.